A Nest for All Seasons A Nest for All Seasons: The Real Valladolid | Hotels, Ruins & the Heart of the Yucatan

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05 December 2011

The Real Valladolid | Hotels, Ruins & the Heart of the Yucatan

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The Real Valladolid  |  Hotels, Ruins & the Heart of the Yucatan
San Gervasio  |  Valladolid, Mexico
Valladolid is pretty awesome.  It is a small town by American standards, but a pretty decent sized town  compared to the smaller Mexican villages.  This was our home base for the second half of the trip and we had absolutely no regrets.  We would have had regrets if we didn't have a rental car however.  The rental car was a huge, HUGE blessing and I would highly recommend a car if you are planning to do any exploring.  If you are planning on staying in a Cancun resort and simply going downtown a few times, the bus is an easy, cheap, safe way to do so.  Otherwise get a car.  Make sure you book your car in advance however.  We paid $85 for a week.  Meanwhile, other folks were booking vehicles for hundreds of dollars at the airport.  BOOK AHEAD.  Bring your confirmation.  We booked a car through Advantage Rental Cars.  they are a subsidiary of Hertz, so we were able to use the Hertz locations all over Mexico if we had problems (which we did in Playa del Carmen...story to come...)

Anyway, back to Valladolid.  It is this great little town with a large square or green in the middle of town that has this gorgeous church situated on one side.  Rumor has it that a murder occurred here on the altar (read more about it HERE).  Murder aside, it is an amazing feat of architecture and is not alone.  There are at least 6 other churches and/or convents in this little town.  We went to several and they are gorgeous.  They are usually free or cheap to enter and I would definitely recommend seeing at least a couple.

Around 4 or 5 every evening, the birds start to go crazy on the square and the tourists show up.  I am totally not kidding.  the birds start squawking like crazy in all the trees in the square and at least 10-15 tour buses show up and dump everyone out onto the street.  They shop and take photos for a half hour and then they leave.  We tried to avoid the tourist hubbub, but loved the birds...

The Real Valladolid  |  Hotels, Ruins & the Heart of the Yucatan
Valladolid Sqaure
Inside the square are carts selling various souvenirs, snacks and sometimes food.  Don't buy the food unless the cart is refrigerated or the food is non meat/dairy/water.  You will most likely regret the purchase.  DO buy little souvenirs from people walking around.  One of my favorite purchases was a little hand sewn handkerchief for $1 from a lady selling them in the square.  Prices of souvenirs at the carts are better than in Cancun, but not as good as the municipal market.  If you are hungry, there is a small "food court" type place with several Mexican restaurants and a pizza place.  The pizza is not good at all.  Go to the place with the longest line of Mexicans.  It is always the best.  There is also a Dominoes in town, but the prices are American and who goes to Dominoes while on Vacation in Mexico?

The food of Valladolid is somewhat of a sore subject with us because we seriously spent 2 hours one day trying to find a decent taco stand.  We had eaten once at the food court and it was ok, but not great.  We could eat at the hotels, but they were expensive.  We asked local after local en our limited espanol for the best tacos...and they kept leading us astray.  We are not terribly picky, but we literally ordered tacos at three different places and could not eat them because they were so bad.  Literally hard chunks of meat...COLD and slapped on cold tortillas.  We had had EXCELLENT, authentic tacos and sambutes elsewhere in Mexico, so what was going on with Valladolid!!  For Pete's sake, we simply want a TACO IN MEXICO!!  WHY CAN'T WE FIND A BLASTED TACO IN MEXICO?!  That day we settled for Cokes and a few snacks and went on to visit a local convent.  Luckily, there was a dude there that when asked, knew the very best taco joint in town.

The Real Valladolid  |  Hotels, Ruins & the Heart of the Yucatan san Berdadino
San Bernardino de Siena Convent  |   Valladolid
The Real Valladolid  |  Hotels, Ruins & the Heart of the Yucatan San Bernadino de Siena Convent
San Bernardino de Siena Convent  |  Valladolid, Mexico
It was called Sobrito's Taco and it was one of the very best meals we had in Mexico.  You would never be  able to find it on your own.  It is about 6 blocks off the square in the middle of a dark road, but it is awesome.  It is this biggish, well lit place with 7 or 8 guys cooking their hearts out Chipotle style.  You order a bunch of stuff for around 7-15 pesos each (about $1 or less)  and ENJOY.  enjoy with a Mexican Coke in a glass bottle - YUM!  The guacamole was incredible, and I don't like guacamole.  It was smooth, thin and spicy, while the salsa was super thick and "tomatoey" with surprisingly no heat at all.  The salsa was the only thing I did not like, but that guacamole more than made up for it and was the perfect topping for all of the dishes we ordered.  Make sure you try a quesidilla there - YUM  YUM  O.

The upside to the searching dramatically through the streets of Mexico to find a taco was the running through the streets of Mexico.  It was absolutely fascinating.  There is a "fashion district" with a whole street of stores selling fabrics, yarns, beads, etc. all piled on top of each other in these tiny shops.  That where I found my cotton hammock ($16 or $200 pesos)  All of the buildings are cement fronts right up to the sidewalk and/or street and then the doors open up into these kind of amazing pseudo still life scenes.  I was absolutely captivated.

The Real Valladolid  |  Hotels, Ruins & the Heart of the Yucatan
Valladolid, Mexico
The Real Valladolid  |  Hotels, Ruins & the Heart of the Yucatan
Valladolid, Mexico
The Real Valladolid  |  Hotels, Ruins & the Heart of the Yucatan
Valladolid, Mexico
Many of the houses and hotels have this cement front to the street, but inside have amazing court yard gardens...front yard gardens are rare.  This is the restaurant in our hotel (Le Maison) that was situated around a beautiful fountain and mini courtyard.  Through that doorway on the right was the actual hotel with rooms situated around another courtyard complete with pool and towering bamboo.  The rate was around $50 a night. 

The Real Valladolid  |  Hotels, Ruins & the Heart of the Yucatan
El Meson del Marques  |  Inner Courtyard Restaurant
The Real Valladolid  |  Hotels, Ruins & the Heart of the Yucatan
El Meson del Marques  |  Inner Courtyard and Rooms
The other big hotel in town was the Hotel Maria de la Luz and it was also located on the square and nice, but we preferred our little El Meson del Marques :)  Merida is a larger town not far from Valladolid and is said to be pretty awesome.  We didn't visit, but we would have liked to!

The Real Valladolid  |  Hotels, Ruins & the Heart of the Yucatan
Hotel Maria de la Luz  |  Valladolid, Mexico
The Real Valladolid  |  Hotels, Ruins & the Heart of the Yucatan
Ek Balam   |   Mexico
The Real Valladolid  |  Hotels, Ruins & the Heart of the Yucatan
Ek Balam  |   Mexico

Come back tomorrow to hear about the amazing ruins of Ek Balam and why you should skip Chichen Itza
and if you visit the convent of  San Bernardino de Siena,  make sure you try to find the little Virgin Mary in her peach dress with a doll baby Jesus (we think?).  It;s totally awesome...not to mention the frescoes...

The Real Valladolid  |  Hotels, Ruins & the Heart of the Yucatan
San Bernardino de Siena Convent  |   Valladolid, Mexico

To learn more about traveling Mexico, check out my other articles below!
1. Cancun Vacation Tips on a Budget2. How to Listen to a Timeshare Presentation without Buying In 3. The Real Valladolid, |  Hotels, Ruins and the Heart of Mexico4. Playa del Carmen and Puerto Morales  |  Snorkeling and Sambutes 5. Ek Balam and the Cenotes6. The Municipal Market of Valladolid


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